Grattan quits Age with call for diversity

Veteran political journalist Michelle Grattan has stressed the need for a diversity of voices on announcing her resignation as political editor of The Age.

Ms Grattan said: ''Diversity matters because we need many voices - as many as possible commenting on politics and interpreting politics and I think what we're seeing at the moment is too much concentration of voices, frankly.''

Ms Grattan, one of Australia's most respected and awarded political journalists, confirmed on Monday she was taking on a teaching role at The University of Canberra.

She will continue to report on federal politics for The Conversation website as associate editor (politics) and chief political correspondent.

Ms Grattan wished The Age all the best, saying it was a newspaper she had been associated with for the majority of her journalistic life.

''It's a great newspaper and I do wish it all the best for the future,'' she told reporters at a lunchtime media conference outside Parliament House.

Ms Grattan said she ''wasn't asked to leave'' and ''wasn't in any sense pushed out of Fairfax or The Age''.

''One makes decisions though and we're moving into the digital era and I'm doing it feet-first,'' she said.

But Ms Grattan did call on the media to maintain a diverse range of voices in political coverage.

She said the concentration of voices in the mainstream media came at a time of fragmentation elsewhere through the influence of the internet.

The need for diversity of voices was especially important in an election year, Grattan added.

Asked at the media conference how she felt about being on the other side of the microphone for once, Grattan said: ''Not good.''

The Age editor-in-chief Andrew Holden said Grattan was ''a profoundly talented political journalist''.

''She's a leader of the Canberra parliamentary press gallery and her astute commentary will be missed by The Age and its readers,'' he said in a statement.

''Michelle is a long-serving Fairfax employee and has worked on several Fairfax mastheads. We wish Michelle all the very best in her new pursuit at the University of Canberra - academia is richer for having her part of it.''

University of Canberra Vice Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker said the university gave Grattan an honorary doctorate in 1994 so ''you could regard this as a long-term recruitment strategy''.

Ms Grattan, who will be teaching politics and international relations at the University of Canberra, said she had always enjoyed teaching.

She will take on a diverse role which will include teaching and research projects in politics and political communication, lecturing, public commentary and strategic advice.

Ms Grattan said she would be remaining in the Press Gallery at Parliament House.
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'It's a combined role,'' she said.

''I've just decided that now is a good time to do that. It's the start of an election year so I start this year in a new organisation providing political coverage and simultaneously have the opportunity to contribute to the university.''

As a professor, Ms Grattan will give guest lectures and tutorials at UC and advise Professor Parker and colleagues. She will also work on research projects, including research in political communication for the University's ANZSOG Institute for Governance.

A member of the Canberra parliamentary press gallery for more than 40 years, she is a former editor of The Canberra Times and has worked with the Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald.

She has been political editor of The Age since 2004. 

with Ross Peake


The story Grattan quits Age with call for diversity first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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